Amanda and I arrived at Bistro 26 shortly after 6 pm. We were seated shortly before the dinner rush began and as table after table began filling up, we were glad we got there when we did. Our server, Paris, told us a bit about the menu, explained the feature for the evening, and served us our drinks. We then turned our attention to our dinner choices. The Chophouse section of the menu has three beef selections as well as lamb, pork, and chicken. The rest of the menu is filled with pastas, sandwiches, burgers, seafood, and salads. Amanda opted to go with the Filet Mignon Au Poivre and I chose the Char-grilled Ribeye. We had several choices of sides that included mashed potatoes, seasoned rice pilaf, gnocchi with garlic and herbs, roasted vegetables, broccoli, seasoned French fries and, for a small up-charge, grilled asparagus.
We were definitely hungry, so when our salads and bread were served several minutes after ordering, we dug right in. We each chose a homemade vinaigrette for our salad (the house and the citrus) and both were delicious. The bread was buttered, grilled, crispy, and delicious.
Shortly after we finished the salads, our steaks arrived at the table. Both plates were presented nicely and made us even more ready to eat. Amanda’s steak was a 6 oz. center-cut filet that was dry rubbed with cracked pepper and pan seared to a medium-rare. It was then topped with a creamy red wine pepper sauce. The steak was tender and juicy and the sauce had wonderful depth of flavor. With her steak, Amanda ordered the mashed potatoes and broccoli. The broccoli was slightly under-seasoned and could have been drained a bit more, but when combined with everything else on the plate, it was good. The potatoes were extremely hot (temperature-wise), but very flavorful and creamy.
My steak was listed as a 12 oz. ribeye, but I would only guess it was closer to 14 oz. The steak was beautifully charred and cooked to a perfect medium-rare. On top of the steak were two pats of homemade chipotle compound butter. The butter slowly melted into the beef and mixed with the juices on my plate, which created a luxurious pool that was a delicious coating for my side dishes. The butter was rich and added a ton of flavor to the already delightful steak. The steak had fairly good marbling and was extremely moist. There were two small pieces of inedible fat that had to be cut off, but it was pretty flawless. For my side dishes, I chose the gnocchi with garlic and herbs and roasted vegetables. The gnocchi was pan cooked and had a slightly crispy exterior that was really amazing. The vegetables were a combination of squash and carrots that had been roasted in oil and lightly seasoned.
As with every stop on the steak tour so far, I had our waitress ask the chef about the grade of beef the restaurant serves. Owner and chef, George Gourlias took a break from cooking and came to the table to answer my question himself. The filet mignon was a select cut while the ribeye was a choice cut. Both were priced a little on the high side, considering the quality of meat, with the filet at $26 and the ribeye at $29, but given that they are served with two sides, salad, and bread, the price was well worth it.
Prices on the Bistro 26 menu range from $8 to $28 and include a wide variety of tasty options. Thank you to Paris for our great service and thank you to George and the rest of the kitchen staff for the delicious and satisfying meal. If these two steaks are a good representation of the rest of the restaurant’s entrees, you will see us back for sure.
The address of Bistro 26 is 3557 W 26th St. in Erie and the number for information and reservations is 814.835.3553. They are open daily from 10:30 am to 9pm Monday through Thursday and till 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is also BYOB.
Until next time,
Andrew — Beard vs. Food